Tender and Juicy Grilled Whole Chicken

Grilled Whole Chicken on the grill

A new way to grill whole chicken! Removing the backbone and rib cage before grilling results in perfectly juicy and tender breast, leg, and thigh meat that is easy to cut. 


  • 3 1/24 1/2 lb whole chicken, giblets removed
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal*
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Prepare the chicken. Lay the chicken backside up, and remove the rib cage and backbone from the chicken using a sharp knife. See the video instructions above or have your butcher do this for ease. 
  2. Brine the chicken. Start by sliding your fingers between the meat and the skin, entering at either end of the chicken to loosen the skin covering the breast meat and thigh. Working slowly, separate as much of the skin from the meat as your fingers can reach. Take a large pinch of salt between two fingers and use your fingers to push the salt beneath the loosened skin. Pick up more salt and continue this process until the salt is as evenly distributed as possible underneath the skin. Make sure to salt the thighs and breasts. Cover the chicken in an air-tight container or plastic gallon bag and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 48 hours. The longer the better!
  3. Preheat the grill. Preheat the grill to high to heat the grill grates. Once the grill is preheated, brush the grates with olive oil. Turn off one burner on one side of the grill, or for a charcoal fire, arrange the coals to one side of the kettle.
  4. Grill the Chicken. Place the chicken flat on a rimmed baking sheet, breast-side up. Using paper towels, pat the chicken skin to remove any excess moisture. Brush the butter on the chicken skin. Place the chicken flat on the side of the grill with indirect heat, breast-side up. Close the lid, and cook the chicken until the juices run clear and a digital thermometer inserted into each chicken leg reads 170°F, about 35 – 40 minutes.
  5. Char the chicken skin. Once cooked, using a large spatula, flip the bird over onto the hot side of the grill. Char the chicken skin until crisp and blistered, about 3 minutes. 
  6. Serve. Remove the chicken from the grill to a serving platter or plate and cover it loosely with foil. Let it rest 15 minutes before serving. 



NO GRILL? Roast the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet at 400°F (204°C) until the juices run clear and a digital thermometer inserted into each chicken leg reads 170°F, about 35 – 40 minutes.

CHOOSING YOUR SALT. 1 teaspoon fine sea salt = 1 1/4 teaspoons Morton’s kosher salt = 1 3/4 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher (affiliate link) salt

STORAGE. Store leftover chicken in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Use leftovers in quesadillas, homemade pizza, stir-fries, or casserole dishes.